Getting familiar with Spanki Mills

Eleanor R.

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Bex here!

I discovered Spanki Mills accidentally one night in 2013 while web surfing. I don’t usually spend too much time looking at other photographer’s websites but this one (Spanki’s site) caught me hook line and sinker right from the get go.

I specifically remember thinking how much I felt she and I had in common…all from the few ways she described herself.

Spanki doesn’t hesitate to tell you how she got to where she is. (She has over 40,000 fans on Facebook alone!) She’ll tell you who holds her heart, what her priorities are and even what drives her batty. She is candid… that is what I love about her. She is someone I want to be friends with. I think I am lucky enough to say that’s true now. (we are friends)

She has a likable nature and that is the very basic explanation for why she has skyrocketed into the photographer celebrity status in such a short time!

There isn’t a giant secret as to how she became so successful in this industry. Although we’d all assume there is a magic formula for fame and success. The simple truth is that people are drawn to her. This is because she is uniquely relatable, raw and real.

In this industry there are many photographers that are too wrapped up in portraying a perfect image of themselves and their lives. I am guilty of having tried to be just that in the past. Obviously, no one wants to read negative posts all the time. That’s not how she is. She is someone who shares her successes but also asks her fans and peers questions on a daily basis. She admits to not knowing it all. She accredits her success to her God and owns up to her shortcomings. She pokes fun at herself. She smiles. She laughs. She responds to people. That alone is such a refreshing change! It helps that her images are unique and fresh.

According to her website, she is an “artist” “mother” “wife” and “creative”. I have come to find these all to be perfect in description! I have had the opportunity through hosting this workshop to get to know her on a more personal level. I can’t begin to tell you how kind, funny and open she is.

Her photography is stunning. It’s just like her. It’s creative, funny, serious, unique and beautiful. You won’t want to look away.

Please don’t hesitate to meet her at the Reset Conference! She is an amazing photographer and an even more amazing person!
You will learn so much from what she has to share with you!
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When did you launch your photography business? 

“Funny. We (my husband and myself) sat down and considered the possibility of a photography career and decided against it… having 3 kids it just didn’t seem like the best idea for time management with a full family. After my 4th was born and I was at home documenting her life, a few friends encouraged me to become a legit business, so in late 2009 I got myself a DBA and I printed myself up some wallets from Wal-mart with my name and number on them and considered myself “official”. That IS official right? “
Are you Nikon or Canon? 
“Oh the important Nikon or Canon question???  Well, I will be honest (becasue why would I lie) I started off with a Canon 20D, upgraded to the 50D and then to the Mark II….aaaaand then I jumped ship and got myself a Nikon D700 and haven’t gone back. (do you see how well I skirted around that question…such the people pleaser I am, both. both is my answer. now lets all be friends) “
Mac or PC? 
“Mac from the very beginning, but knowing how to really use it is a WHOLE different story. “

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Favorite Lens & what’s in your bag? 

“50mm 1.4 but I also have the 35 and the 85. Almost EVERY. SINGLE. IMAGE you see of mine was taken with my 50mm. period. “
Who inspires you? (personally or professionally?) 
“I am sure any one of my personalities usually do…yes, I get along with the voices inside of my head…(someone should make a song about that) I kid, I kid… I get inspiration from music videos, magazines, and everyday life.”

 

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Guilty Pleasure? 

“Traveling because as much as I love to have my family go with me, with the schedule FOUR kids seem to create it is near impossible to take time away. “
Favorite movie or book?
“Oh I adore all the oldie but goodies (these will totally age me) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Can’t Buy Me Love, Adventures in Babysitting etc. I can pretty much quote any old movie…not accurately but I still say it like I know it and I happen to insert my name just about everywhere it will fit. “

 

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Most embarrassing moment? 

“Sadly, I have embarrassing moments daily. I have learned to just laugh at it. BUT one of my most recent favorites was when I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night at WPPI last year and didn’t let my eyes adjust from the light back to my dark room and LEAPED with all I had back into my bed… only problem was… it wasn’t my bed, it was that space BETWEEN the beds…yup carpet burn to prove it!! (wanna hear the entire story here you go: http://spankimills.com/so-i-told-you-id-tell-you/ )”
Did you ever think photography would be your career? 
Heck no. I didn’t think you could love to do something and call it a “career”
Favorite junk food? 
“Anything dipped in Chocolate!”

 

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 If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? 
“Italy, I am about 4%  Italian. Since being Italian is such a huge part of my culture, and I love pasta, I think it is justifiable to really take in where my heritage began. Just kidding… I am probably 7% 😉 “
If you could have any super power, which would you choose? 
“ahh, hard one. The power to allow myself to believe in ME. My ability, my talent, my body image. The power to ignore the negative voices of doubt. (again with those voices inside of my head…maybe I shouldn’t get along with that one)”

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Favorite photograph you’ve taken? 

“They are all my favorite…for at least an hour! 😉 hello ADD.”
Have there been moments where you are photographing and you realize that this is bigger than yourself?
“The moment I see someone see themselves for what they really are, the beautiful teen, mother, or photographer they are that they refuse to see in a mirror. “
What words of advice would you give to someone just starting out?
“Loaded question. I have made so many mistakes in my career that I have made it my mission to help others find direction and avoid some of the hard mistakes I have made. I believe we all have to fall to want to get back up and walk again, so mistakes are so VALUABLE but if  I could help one person see their mistakes and be ok with them and learn to grow from them then I feel like every mistake I made had a purpose. Education and identity are key to success. You have to educate yourself and in doing so you will learn your own identity… those who don’t educate seem to get lost in their true identity longer. “

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What’s your typical day usually look like?

“Wake up, get kids off to school, visit with hubs over coffee, get on treadmill, shower and dress, laundry, edit and emails, FB, laundry, emails, FB, laundry, FB, more emails/computer work,  prepare dinner, kids home, laundry, dinner, FB, clean kitchen, visit with family or go take someone to a practice (baseball, football, track, basketball, volleyball…we have too many kids) hit the couch turn on HGTV and don’t move until bed time. repeat.”
Favorite hot drink? 
“coffee”

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What three words best describe your photography?

“Hold on let me ask the voices in my head… “
Best secret for working smarter not harder? 
“Set boundaries, make reasonable to-do list, allow yourself work hours, delegate tasks (please remind me to do this one) “

 

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Wish you had more of…? Wish you had less of….?

“time. laundry.”
Annual goals?
“To help provide for my family but with a life/work balance and over all happiness.”
Any successes or failures in business that have shaped the way you run your business now?
” Every bit of what I do, what I teach and how I empower others is all due to past failures. I am telling you, if I could have done something wrong…I DID! “

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Do you feel like attending workshops/conferences are valuable?

“YES! education is not only the ONLY way to succeed  but even more so networking and getting a close support system is priceless! “

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Summary of what you hope to share with attendees of the reset conference.

“My reset moment and how taking control changed my business and my life! “
If that doesn’t illustrate everything I was saying, I don’t know what would! Come see her! You won’t regret it!! Use code SPANKI50 for an extra $50 off your registration!
Bex
Eleanor R.
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